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Over the last several years there has been much attention focused on the detection and remediation of problems that pose potential threats to patient safety and that interfere with the provision of effective care. It has been noted that changes in medical education and assessment are integral to eventual improvement in this area. Within the assessment system used to licence physicians in the United States, there has been an evolution of assessment formats intended to improve the measurement of knowledge and skills, including the recent development of computer based patient simulations and clinical skills assessments. A number of new testing formats intended to further enhance assessment of critical knowledge and skills will be available in the near future.